The Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) has awarded a Maurice L. Mednick Memorial Grant to Dejun “Tony” Kong, assistant professor of leadership studies and management at the University of Richmond.

The grant will support Kong’s research project, “Acculturation and Individual Competences,” which will examine how international and domestic college students adapt to their new culture when studying abroad. As more U.S. students are deciding to study abroad or pursue degrees in non-traditional destinations, such as Costa Rica, South Korea and Brazil, they are encountering problems in intercultural communication, cultural adjustment, academic performance and emotion regulation during their time abroad.

“Much research has focused on stressors, such as language, educational environment, socio-cultural environment, discrimination and lifestyle,” said Kong. His research will look closer at other psychological processes of acculturation, such as trust and social identity.

Kong holds a joint faculty appointment in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and the Robins School of Business. His research focuses on trust and ethics, negotiation and conflict management, cross-cultural leadership/management, and emotions.

Kong holds a B.B.A. in management science from Fudan University in China and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in organizational behavior from Washington University in St. Louis.

The Mednick Fellowship honors a young Norfolk industrialist who valued higher education. It is managed by VFIC, a nonprofit fund-raising partnership among 15 independent colleges in Virginia founded in 1952 to support collaborative initiatives to ensure that their personalized approach to education remains an affordable choice for students.

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